October 5

Nothing Can Stop Us From Serving Him

Jeremiah 29:4-7 Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all who were carried away captive, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and dwell in them; plant gardens and eat their fruit. Take wives and beget sons and daughters….And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the LORD for it; for in its peace you will have peace.

These verses from Jeremiah 29—repeated from yesterday’s devotional—have more to say to us than the encouragement to pray for “the peace of the city” we find ourselves in. While most of God’s people thought that worship would come to an end (the Temple had been destroyed) and that at best they could only mark time in Babylon, God knew better. He had specific instructions for them to follow during their time of exile.

No, they could no longer offer sacrifices in Jerusalem. They could no longer be taught in the Temple, or go to the annual feasts. There was no king on David’s throne to even pray for! If they were out of their element, how could they possibly serve the Lord?

Jeremiah’s words assured them that God wasn’t putting them “on hold,” even while the nation was being judged. He had things for them to do, to serve Him even there. Their worship was their obedience—building houses, raising their children, planting gardens, and of course, seeking the peace of the city and praying for it.

Sometimes we find ourselves in “foreign” situations, where our normal expressions of worship, praise and service aren’t possible. We may lose the opportunity to serve in a particular ministry, some activity has “dried up,” or our external circumstances have taken a drastic turn (prison, divorce, a physical move). We may think that in our current condition or circumstances that we cannot serve the Lord.

Jeremiah’s words encourage us that nothing could be further from the truth. No person, no circumstance, no physical limitation, no seeming barrier can stop us from serving the Lord. Nothing. We may no longer be able to serve Him the way we used to, or we may be limited by a new set of circumstances. But like the exiles, we have direction available from the Lord. We may need to hear a new word, and be open to new forms of service. But nothing can stop us from serving Him.

God always wants us to move forward, even when being chastised. We are to move from faith to faith, from glory to glory. Until we enter eternity (and even after), He has a plan for us, and there is a path of service for us. We may have to pray and seek to discover that path when circumstances change, but as long as we have breath, nothing can stop us from serving Him.

Prayer: Lord, thank You that I can always serve You. Help me to see new ways to serve You in my present circumstances, and help me to discover new ways to serve You if and when those circumstances change.

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